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Briar Patch Outdoors

Vehicle Winter Survival Kits - Part One: Personal Gear

by David Graves

Just about all of us who live in the "Great White North" have had the dreaded experience of a vehicle problem in the snow. The term "winter survival kit" may sound a bit dramatic, but having a well-stocked kit may indeed help you survive one of those unforeseen wintertime vehicle emergencies. These may include having a car not start in the middle of nowhere, sliding into a ditch, or becoming stuck in the snow and having a long wait for a tow truck to arrive. These situations are never pleasant, but a little foresight and planning can make them less uncomfortable.

There are three main points to consider in assembling a vehicle kit for cold weather….

1. Cost

A decent kit does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact, many items may already be in your home. Items such as lighters, water bottles, candles, etc. may already be owned in multiples. If you do have to purchase an item for your kit, you may find many important pieces of gear are fairly inexpensive. Army surplus stores, marine supply companies, and auto parts stores are great sources for a lot of survival type items any time of the year.

2. Size

Just because a kit is useful does not mean that it has to be large or stocked with lots of items. On the other hand, a kit that contains too few of the proper things will not fulfill its role properly. If you have the room to stow away a large amount of survival gear, nothing says you can’t. If you have a limited space, like the cab of a pick-up truck for example, the size of the kit becomes important. Also, if you do have to leave your vehicle (not generally recommended), can your kit be carried with you?

3. Practicality

Let’s say you have your kit assembled. You have everything you need and then some. Now you should do one last thing -- stand back and take a hard last look. Do you feel undecided about a particular item? Is its function duplicated by another item already packed? Are you missing any items needed for any critical functions? This is what I mean by being truly practical. List all the contents on paper. This will help to keep you from overlooking anything. Double check this list, and change it if items are added or removed.

Although a later article will examine needed items for vehicle maintenance and recovery, this write-up is about PERSONAL GEAR. These are items needed to keep yourself or a passenger alive and healthy. These items will help others locate you if you are stranded, as well as making sure you are in good shape once you are found.


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Briar Patch Outdoors
219 Holmes Street
Durand MI 48429
(989) 288-0168

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